Kicking Off the Energy Excelerator

I can be fairly critical of accelerator programs, but after 12 days in Honolulu I’m happy to report that the Energy Excelerator is doing it right. They pulled off well coordinated, well-executed activities that helped us better understand the Hawaiian energy community and how each of our companies may fit. Furthermore, they did an excellent job of planning social events that brought the cohort closer as a group. It was a high-paced week!

8500 Miles, 60 feet of PVC, and a SunChill™ Prototype

Greetings from the newest new guy!  It’s been a busy 2014 as we progress toward a close-looped prototype and the physical realization of what has only been heretofore a model on a computer screen.  For me personally, it’s been a plunge into the depths as I continually learn about the intricacies--and originality--of SunChill™’s design as well as the system’s current and future challenges.  There was also that pair of 15-plus-hour flights to Mozambique to mull it all over. Here are some highlights from the depths, 2014!

Lab Notebook: IcePoint™ is Ready to Keep Your Ice Cream Cold

IcePoint™ runs! The year ended on a high note as Rebound ran the first closed loop, freeze point suppression heat pump in existence. That might not mean much to you readers, but believe me, it means the world to the Rebound team. It's what we’ve been striving for since we thought of the concept back in early 2012. Read on to see how we did it!

Nice To Finally Meet You, Mozambique

This summer Russell and I took our first trip to Mozambique as part of our SunChill™ project sponsored by Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development. This was the first of two trips the Rebound team is taking to prepare for the final demonstration phase in Mozambique. Additionally, it was our first experience traveling to sub-Saharan Africa. The trip didn’t disappoint. 

Cooling vs. Storage

SunChill™ is an off-grid technology that pre-cools horticultural products from harvest temperatures (25C) to storage temperatures (10C). However, people are often asking us why SunChill™ instead of conventional cold storage rooms adapted for off-grid application. The primary response is that pre-cooling products to storage temperatures enables the implementation of inexpensive cold storage by reducing necessary equipment size and electrical needs. 

Lab Notebook: Growing SunChill™

The summer of 2014 has been a time of growth for the SunChill™ team. We added our first Grad Student, Sean Ryan, and hired our first full time SunChill™ employee, Jack Darrah. Additionally, we started our formal work with the Fraunhofer membrane distillation team in Freiburg, Germany. Originally we envisioned Sean and Jack needing a longer adjustment period to get up to speed, but are fired up to see results pouring in fast.

Lab Notebook: Chipping Away at IcePoint™ Development

And just like that, Phase I of the IcePoint™ NSF project is complete!  Well, perhaps time has slowly dragging by for those of you hoping for new blog posts, but it flew by for us. Since we last touched base with you, the project rapidly developed from a warehouse with little more than potential into an operational prototype system.

Lab Notebook: Germany via Minimal Sleep and No Beer

Freiburg is a town rife with history and culture, according to Wikipedia. Everything I know about the German town I learned by walking to and from the Fraunhofer Institute each day over the course of a week. Needless to say, the 15 minute walk didn't provide the best german emersion experience. That said, here is what I did learn: Boulder is not the only town where most people commute by bike, most Germans are simultaneously completely fluent in and apologetic about their English, and it is possible to pack a months worth of membrane testing into a week long trip.

Tackling Two Technologies

Progress continues here at Rebound. Right after our last post, we were notified of an National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR award to develop IcePoint. This opened up a whole new set of exciting possibilities and challenges for the Rebound technical team. In the past month, quite a few people have asked us how we intend to develop two technologies at the same time. The answer: an equal application of hard work and smart planning.